Sharing At Halloween


I share all my stuff day after day, the blog is so close to receiving 10,000 hits and being a year old, I feel it’s about time I got something back. I would like photos of your carved pumpkins, your costumes or your Halloween Art to feature on the site. Is it so much to ask? No… So Email them, comment link them or Twitter them to me and share a little over Halloween. (Yes, that is my pumpkin eating an orange.)

Design For Life 4 Real


Most pupils don’t know to which extent they are learning to become a successful artist or designer in Art & Design. To pupils, the subject is still a hobby, something that you enjoy doing. I try my best to push the fact that they will learn skills that can take them progress in a career that they will enjoying doing everyday. Although the curriculum doesn’t allow an overall view of Art & Design as work, it does give an insight into how it’s made, especially the design content.

Pupils will know that when working with a design, especially at a high level (intermediate, higher etc), you must provide three examples of design. This also helps when gauging what a client wants. With any piece of design that I do, it is important to give the client a range of ideas to help them decide what they want. Most lazy designers don’t consider the client and only do what is necessary, leaving the client feeling trapped to one idea and not saying anything about issues they may have with the design. It is then fairly unlikely that that client will ever contact you again for further designs. It is therefore important to consider who you are designing for and getting a brief of what they would like.

The working example I am going to show you is for an exhibition held in my home country of Northern Ireland. The exhibition is for ‘The Recessionists’, a collection of painters and artists who have got together to provide affordable artwork during this harsh time. Now it’s fairly tough to design for non-creative clients, it’s ten times as stressful when you are designing for artists or other designers.

After speaking with the client on the phone you have a vague idea and notes of what they want. I suggest you sit down and sketch out a few examples. It is fine to leave them as sketches, though I find it helps the client choose, if you’ve prepared clean, digital examples for them.

I thought of my three ideas (actually four, but I disregarded the worst one). The first idea came to me as soon as I saw some of the landscapes that would be shown in the exhibition. The mountains look like a graph, a sliding graph of lost shares or money. So I came up with the idea below.


The second idea came from the fact that the paintings would be affordable and on sale. This made me think of the competition between the big supermarkets and how they advertise their products. My next idea would be based on Tesco’s advertising.

recessionists 2

The last idea (and the idea chosen by the clients) would be based around someone who hadn’t much money looking into the fact that they’d like to go along to the exhibition. It would be a scattering of coins and information that would tell the onlooker about the exhibition as well as give them an insight into its aim and audience.

recessionists 3

The three ideas are then emailed to the client, who is allowed time to choose and fine tune any details they’d like to change. As stated before ‘The Recessionists’ have gone for the last idea and it will now be finalised and the final draft, emailed to them.

The three ideas and the final idea will have taken around 5 hours to complete. This is very slow in terms of commercial design work, most companies are ruthless with their time and expect an output in a short time. This is why I work for myself and can remain happy with the project, putting as much time into it as I see fit. Should you choose the design path, you’ll have to make the decision to either work for a company in a fairly safe job, but work underneath a manager or walk the uncertain path of working free-lance (for yourself), not knowing when and where the next job may arise.

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at an actual insight into how design works outside of school. The basic principles are there, the initial thoughts and plans, the three ideas and the development into a final idea. When you get to it being second nature, you don’t really need to show your workings anymore, especially if you’re not graded for them.

I will show you the final idea when it’s complete.

The Art Of Gore


Quite a strange Artwork of the Week this week. I figured since it’s the season of the witch, I had to feature a piece that was appropriate for the time. I have no spooky examples of pupil work that haven’t been featured previously, so I thought I’d twist the whole thing on its head and award a teacher the prize.

Anyone who knows me, will know that I am a huge fan of Halloween. I hold it above any other time of year, even Christmas. This is quite rare in the UK though not unusual at all in the US. I feel that Halloween is the perfect time to show off your artistic skill, your creativeness and your unique ideas. The type of costume you wear and how it’s been made, says a lot about you. Most people rent or buy items, some make from scratch and many customise their outfits from whatever they can.

Attending the Alton Towers Scarefest this year, I and a few friends thought it would be appropriate to become Zombies for the festivities. We applied make up to our faces to look cut, bruised and dead. Ms Ledingham applied the make up to my face. Those of you who have ever used theatre make up before will know how difficult it is to make a realistic cut or paint realistic features, so I was amazed when I viewed the work that Ms Ledingham had done. I looked completely gruesome (more than usual… I knew you were thinking that).


If you’re interested in creating your own Zombie make up you’ll need the following items:

1 Dish of face wax

5 Dishes of face paints (white, purple, black, blue and red)

1 tube of theatrical blood

1 Spatula (Ice cream spoon) and several cotton buds/sponge

How to create the effect:

Create a sausage with the wax and apply to a clean patch of skin. Flatten the edges of the sausage against the skin creating a mound. Slice through the mound with the spatula and create a cut. Apply black and red inside the cut and red and purple around the edge of the cut to look like bruising. Apply black and purple under the eyes to look like bruising and death. Apply blue and purple to sink in the cheeks to make the face look gaunt. Cover the entire face in a light cover of white and smudge and finely touch the colours. Apply blood to cuts and face, let them drip (careful of clothes). If you want to look more gruesome, teeth enamel can be painted onto the teeth and a blood capsule can be chewed… now you’re a zombie.

So… a very weird Artwork of the Week this week. A horrible photo of me, a teacher as the winner (Congratulations to Ms Ledingham) and advice on how to make yourself look like the living dead.

It must be Halloween…

Wee Lolly Cupcake


Wee Lolly Cupcake is Laura C and she’s starting to attract attention across the net. I stumbled upon her when I was ego browsing Youtube and thought that it was marvelous that she was responding to various videos that had been posted. The internet is such a voyeuristic activity, we click and browse it without ever really reacting to it. I was glad to see that Wee Lolly Cupcake was not only viewing and digesting certain posts, but thought fit to respond and discuss some of the issues raised. Reviewing these issues in a room in her house through a web-cam, Wee Lolly Cupcake reminds me of Charlie Brooker (the famous Guardian writer and TV writer), her posts are raw, unscripted and often controversial. She’s not hesitant in discussing issues such as Homosexuality, Racism and Religion. Subjects that would flare up anyone’s emotions.

RE Gay Marriage – Is it right?

Although I disagree with some points raised, I think it is entirely admirable for Wee Lolly Cupcake to raise these issues for discussion. After all, what good are words if they’re not put towards delivering an important point or interesting thought now and again. Wee Lolly Cupcake shows that Youtube videos don’t necessarily have to be some pointless walk-through for a Playstation game or someone miming to a pop song. She shows that points can be raised on the network and judging by her feedback, it is obvious that people enjoy her views and are often inspired or driven to comment.

Avatar Movie Review

I really like her reviews, being an old cynical reviewer myself, I’m finding it increasingly tough to be excited by the arts, so her point of view is refreshing and allows an insight into what it’s like to not be desensitized by over exposure. Wee Lolly Cupcake’s reviews of the Twilight book and the new Avatar film remind me that young people live in an old person world. Although there are many products marketed towards them, they have to turn to the likes of Jonathan Ross and Mariella Frostrup for movie and book reviews. Why are young people not reviewing the products marketed towards them? How can Jonathan Ross possibly give an appropriate review towards a 12 or 13 year old on Ice Age 3 or Where the Wild Things Are? He can’t…

Laura C also makes art. She creates avatars and characters, focusing on fantasy and animal drawings. She also submitted a detailed piece for the Young Brits at Art competition this year. The piece was a clever idea around the insertion of hobbies, thoughts and personal items into the shape of the countries of the world. It was an ‘Atlas of her’ or as she put it ‘the World according to’ her.


Wee Lolly Cupcake’s Youtube Channel

Wee Lolly Cupcake’s Deviant Art